Alexandria's founded by Alexander

Alexandria's founded by Alexander the Great (by year BC): 334 Alexandria in Troia (Turkey) - 333 Alexandria at Issus/Alexandrette (Iskenderun, Turkey) - 332 Alexandria of Caria/by the Latmos (Alinda, Turkey) - 331 Alexandria Mygdoniae - 331 Alexandria (Egypt) - 330 Alexandria in Areia (Herat, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria of the Prophthasia/in Dragiana/Phrada (Farah, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Arachosia (Kandahar, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Caucasus (Begram, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria of the Paropanisades (Ghazni, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria Eschate or Ultima (Khodjend, Tajikistan) - 329 Alexandria on the Oxus (Ai-Khanoum OR Termez, Afghanistan) - 328 Alexandria in Margiana (Merv, Turkmenistan) - 326 Alexandria Nicaea (on the Hydaspes, India) - 326 Alexandria Bucephala (on the Hydaspes, India) - 325 Alexandria Sogdia - 325 Alexandria Rambacia (Bela, Pakistan) - 325 Alexandria Oreitide - 325 Alexandria in Opiene (confluence of Indus & Acesines, India) - 325 Alexandria on the Indus - 325 Alexandria Xylinepolis (Patala, India) - 325 Alexandria in Carminia (Gulashkird, Iran) - 324 Alexandria-on-the-Tigris/Antiochia-in-Susiana/Charax (Spasinou Charax on the Tigris, Iraq) - ?Alexandria of Carmahle? (Kahnu)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Alexander the Great. The Brief Life and Towering Exploits …

Alexander the Great. The Brief Life and Towering Exploits of History’s Greatest Conqueror as told by his Original Biographers. By Brenda Jackson and Ronald L. McDonald. Edited by Tania Gergel. Introduction by Michael Wood. ISBN 0 14 20.0140 6

Just what I wanted, Alexander’s life story “as told by his original biographers” and since it included a foreword by Michael Wood, whom I hold in high esteem, I thought this would be the purchase of my life!

Although it is a noteworthy book where classic authors like Arrian, Plutarch and Curtius Rufus, are skillfully tied together in a pleasant narrative, I ended up feeling that the most interesting section was actually Michael Wood’s introduction. He at least knows how to kindle that sparkle that makes a book interesting and fascinating to read. Brenda Jackson and Ronald L. McDonald's story is more a flat statement of facts and figures from a past that seems even more remote than it already is.

I’ll hang on to Michael Wood’s last introductory sentence where he is quoting Arrian “… It is my belief that … never in the world was there another like him [Alexander]”.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A thought for Roxane, Alexander’s Bactrian wife

At times my mind travels in strange ways or I may simply get carried away by the emotions of the moment as happened recently went I attended a singing performance from Samarkand by a lady called Monajat Yulchieva.

With her velvet voice and natural grace, she was meant to become an opera singer but turned instead to the old tradition of shashmâquam, the typical songs from Uzbekistan. She found inspiration in Sufi texts that matched harmoniously with the string and percussion instruments of her native country. This is how she was announced in the media and somehow I felt I needed to see and hear her on stage (Bozar, Brussels, Sept 2009). This turned out to be quite a revelation, I can assure you! 

Unfortunately, I couldn’t understand a word of what she was singing, so it was all pure emotion that came to me. The first three songs were adaptations from folk songs, but then the sound and expression took an entirely different turn. At times, the tunes reminded me of some Chinese songs; in other parts, the melodies reflected the emptiness of the steppe where the notes were suspended in the thin desert air.

Monajat Yulchieva has a fine appearance, someone you do justice by calling her a lady. Utterly gracious and although no longer in her youngest years, you’ll easily qualify her as very handsome. It was almost evident that my thoughts went to the women Alexander would have met on his journey through that part of Asia, and in particular to Roxane. If she was as beautiful as some ancient writers pretend, she might have looked something like Monajat in her teens. Why not?

Unfortunately, no image of Roxane has come to us and the only way I can visualize her is through Oliver Stone’s movie Alexander but that is as remote as Pietro Antonio Rotari’s painting that was shown recently at the Hermitage Museum in Amsterdam (see: Immortal Alexander the Great). So I feel entitled to having my own image of Roxane.

Those who are truly interested in sharing this very special musical experience can watch Monajat Yulchieva on video here. Let me know if I’m right, yes?